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Fedor comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: [deleted] 17 January 2012 12:55:56AM 6 points [-]

Hey everyone,

I'm a 20 year old student of Serbian literature (from Serbia). I found this site while browsing through some math blogs and it seems very nice.

About me: Currently my main interest is writing short stories. I view them as arranging words so they appeal to my own emotions, intuition, subconscious, what not. I also like mathematics and I like to explore relations and find out new rules between numbers, lines, etc., although it sometimes bores me because my imagination has to be strictly inside the boundaries of logic there, while with literature I can do anything that pleases my taste, personal desires. Both are manifestations of human imagination (just like music, or drawing), but literature could be called 'dirty' because it is not stripped from our colorful humanness. I've been introduced to rationality when I was 15 as I started programming. Before that I liked to play alone and construct giant slides for marbles, I like to draw maps. My mother thought me to personify objects when I was a kid - "Do not tear the flowers, it hurts them!" - that lead me to think that such things, as well as houses, etc. have human properties. A house would have an intention, a toy would be sad if we leave it on the floor, cars would be happy or angry, etc. I know that such a worldview is not very helpful or practical, but it is sure fun to see things like this sometimes! What triggers it usually is when I enjoy purely sensual activities where meaning and logic are excluded (sex, e.g.). Walking out into the dark with such an attitude to reality can also be scary sometimes - everything is vibrant, full of life, emotion, humanness - I get oversensitive, I guess, like an unknowing little animal.

Although I have tried pushing myself in more practical directions, looks like that I turn back naturally to my art. So I decided to hope for writing some stories/books that will influence people in some peculiar way, depending on how they react to such ideas. I have felt some guilt because of my artistic attitudes before - "You should be a programmer, a physicist, a mathematician!" I thought to myself, because I thought that picking a job where pure rational thought is needed is what every man should strive for, while unnecessary things such as artistic tendencies (with all its quirks) should be left behind as some illness that people overcome when they realize how reality really works. But I act on behalf of my instincts - and if I try not to, I feel sad. So I listen to them, mostly.

One question I have been turning around in my mind recently - are there limitations of mathematical explorations? Or will things keep growing, branching and getting more complex year after year? Is a mathematician someone who is happy if he can grab a bucketful of water out of the ocean? The world seems amazingly broad to me and my work compared to it as just a pile of symbols which might trigger thoughts another system has learnt to associate with them. However, no matter how big and cold things are, I think there is no reason to be scared. Usually, sadness would come from denying the obvious truth. To live is a miracle indeed (sorry if I got cheesy by the end ;).

Comment author: [deleted] 17 January 2012 01:00:34AM 0 points [-]

By the way, my reason for being here is to brush up my knowledge - I am eager to have my arguments proven wrong and corrected, my views changed in a way that is more in accord with the truth!

Comment author: TimS 17 January 2012 01:21:59AM *  0 points [-]

Welcome to LessWrong. Our goal is to improve ourselves. Most importantly, we are trying to learn how to avoid believing things that are false. This is harder than it sounds, like someone trying to figure out whether she likes a painting because it appeals to her artistic sensibilities, or simply because her teachers unconsciously favored the painting when teaching her. We certainly don't think that you must abandon creativity or emotion in order to improve yourself. Maybe your self-improvement will help you express your creativity more effectively.

Anyway, we love questions and debate. Feel free to post in the current open thread.

Note: Misleading sentence removed.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 17 January 2012 01:32:44AM 2 points [-]

Often, that means learning what true things to believe.

You don't learn which true things to believe or which false things to disbelieve. You learn (how to figure out) which things are true or false.

Comment author: TimS 17 January 2012 01:47:14AM -1 points [-]

It's hard to write a sentence about believing true things that (1) isn't cult-ish and (2) retains the parallelism with the next sentence (which is the more important sentence). Since you think the sentence is misleading, I'll remove it.